Welcome to day three of Blogmás!
Today comes to you from beautiful Kew Gardens. My friend Ian headed back home to Australia this week for the Christmas holidays but before he left we managed to squeeze in a visit to Kew Gardens to take in their Christmas at Kew event.
It reminded me of Mount Stewart’s Festival of Light and was great fun to stroll around – even in the pouring rain! With ample opportunity to practise low lighting photography- (tricky)- the 1 mile trail is peppered with interactive elements that will surely appeal to big and little kids alike. (One such highlight is a Christmas tree which takes a bit of elbow grease to make its colourful lights twinkle.)
There are a couple of fairground rides and the opportunity to purchase souvenirs from the various Kew gift shops as well as a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate and a mince pie to keep you warm and on your way.
As a single person I found the £16 admission charge quite steep but I was prepared to pay it thinking this was just another London-specific entrance cost. However, I was shocked when I looked into the ticket prices for other groups and individuals to include in this post. A family ticket consisting of two adults and two children between the ages of 4 and 16 is £48 if you purchase your tickets in advance and £55 if you turn up on the day. If you want to park your car at Kew it will set you back a further £7.
Once inside there are more opportunities to spend. Remember that mulled wine and mince pie I mentioned earlier? Two of each won’t give you change of a tenner and the fairground rides are more still.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely time at Kew and I hope you agree this post and video reflect the fun we had. That being said, I cannot ignore the fact that the family ticket price will likely put a lot of families off visiting and that is a real shame.
We’re living in an age where young people especially are more disconnected from nature than ever before. In 2013 the RSPB published a report looking into the reasons why young people’s relationship with the natural world is worsening. Working together with The Wildlife Trusts in further studies, the RSPB drew up the Nature and Wellbeing Act to combat Nature Deficit Disorder – it’s a very real and growing problem.
Studies have repeatedly proven that when a child feels a connection with the natural world their health and wellbeing sees improvement and they will be more inclined to want to look after the world in which they live as they get older.
One of the biggest barriers that young people growing up in urban environments face is limited access to green space. Furthermore, children from deprived backgrounds are even less likely to feel a connection to nature.
Kew Gardens is an incredible natural resource that can undoubtedly fire up the imagination of anyone who visits but their current pricing structure is prohibitive and it runs the risk of widening the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in our society.
Along the trail there’s the opportunity to make a wish and hang a little light on the Wishing Tree. In hindsight, I think my wish is for children and young people all over London to have the opportunity to connect with the wonderful nature preserved at Kew, regardless of their economic background. Let’s work together to get every child outdoors.
Christmas at Kew runs until 2nd January 2016. Click here for more information and visiting times.
See you tomorrow,
P.S. Don’t forget, my Blogmas giveaway is running until 14th December. If you haven’t entered and would like to click here. And if you have entered but would lie another go you can earn a new entry with daily RTs on Twitter.